john mcelhenney - the whole parent

Reaching a Moment of Peace and Happiness As a Single Dad

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Today, at this very moment,
I am as happy as I have ever been.

And, here’s the corollary: I’ve said that many times during my journey.


  1. I’m in love
  2. I am writing with integrity (writing my truth)
  3. This blog, my books, and my upcoming projects have me creatively stretched and stretching
  4. While I am on the heavier side of my healthiest self, I don’t remember being as happy with my body as I am right now
  5. My son is out from under his mother’s angry wing and can develop a new relationship with me, one-to-one
  6. My daughter and I are very close
  7. I’ve learned to disengage with my ex-wife’s drama completely (she is still a puzzlement to me)

These are all huge pillars in the foundation of my soul and my happiness, and today, I’m content. I haven’t always been content. And often, I’ve struggled with the delicate balance between contentment and ambition. I have a lot of ambition today, but I don’t think I’m striving for attention or fame just to fill up some emptiness inside. I’ve always wanted to be on the public stage. And in my current trajectory, with the current momentum here on this blog, I believe escape velocity is close.

A few things I’m still consciously working to heal in my life

  1. My relationship with my dad will always be a source of confusion and reflection
  2. My deep sadness at all the time I lost with my kids due to the divorce and the way my then-wife did not value my participation and instead went for the “divorce package” and handed me a 30% role in my kids’ lives.
  3. A bit of resentment and anger at my ex-wife, who still gets 50% of every dollar I make (yes, I know, it’s for the support and care of my daughter)
  4. The imbalanced family law in most states that values mom’s parenting role more than dad’s parenting role.
  5. I’d like to lose those love handles again
  6. I’m continuing to heal and grow in loving myself
  7. I’d like to be even closer to my 86-year-old mom

In the balance of life, I am in a really good place. I still feel anxiety sometimes, as if my world could be pulled out from under me at any time. I worry that the depression I hit last November is only a few months away. But I’ve been working so hard on understanding my own trauma and the part my self-criticism plays in my depression, that I’m pretty bullish on this holiday season. (SEE: Total System Failure: Rebooting My Life, Again)

Some days it is good to just stop and say “thank you” to your higher power, your family, your partner. Today is that day. I’m marking a high point in my life.

“I could not have imagined myself in this amazing place,” I said from the pool, yesterday. “Not in a million years.”

I’m ready for what’s coming. Stay tuned. Always Love,

John McElhenney – life coach austin texas
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a good dad's guide to divorce

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